Monday, April 4, 2011

Shrimp Alhinho

This recipe is an awesome riff on the traditional combination of shrimp and garlic that you find all over the Iberian peninsula.  It's from George Mendes, the chef/owner of Aldea in New York.  The menu there is Portuguese inspired, but definitely not traditional...

If you're pinched for time, the shrimp are awfully good just on their own.

For the sauce base:
2 pounds shrimp heads
canola oil, as needed
½ onion, sliced thinly
5 shallots, sliced thinly
½ bulb fennel, sliced thinly
2 ribs celery, sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp. fennel seed
1 pod star anise
1 tbsp. saffron
½ cup brandy
½ cup Pernod
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 sprigs tarragon, roughly chopped
2 sprigs parsley, roughly chopped
.2% xantham gum (by weight of finished, strained sauce)

For the shrimp:
32 shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced
½ tbsp. paprika
1 sprig parsley, minced
1 sprig cilantro, minced
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper as needed

Make the sauce base:

Toast the shrimp heads in canola oil. Add the onion, shallots, garlic, fennel, celery, saffron, fennel seeds and star anise.  Sweat until the vegetables start to soften.  Add the tomato paste and cook for one minute. Deglaze first with the brandy, then with the Pernod.  Cover with water and simmer 30 minutes. Take off the stove, add the herbs, and infuse 15 minutes.  Strain through a chinois.  Reduce over high heat if the flavor is not concentrated enough.

Add .2% xantham gum by total weight of the sauce and mix with an immersion blender.

Make the shrimp:

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and sear in 1 tbsp. olive oil for 30 seconds on each side.

Lower the heat and add the remaining olive oil and minced garlic. Cook the garlic slowly until golden. Add the paprika and mix well. Add the chopped parsley, cilantro, and lemon juice.

Heat the shrimp base and divide between eight warm shallow bowls.  Place 4 shrimp in center of each dish. Spoon a small amount the garlic-olive oil mixture over the shrimp and then top with the minced herbs.

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